El Dorado (1966) Poster



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Robert Mitchum's character was wounded and needed to use a crutch, but Mitchum would switch which arm he used with the crutch throughout shooting. The continuity was so poor that John Wayne (who actually worked continuity in silents while a star college football player, a method used by Hollywood fans to slip players some spending money) had his character mention it in one of the last scenes. Director Howard Hawks enjoyed it so much he left it in the movie. Mitchum's version of this story is that he objected but Hawks had him switch sides with the crutch based on what looked best in that scene. When Hawks saw how bad it looked in the dailies, Mitchum suggested the additional dialogue between his character and Wayne's to cover the gaffe.
The opening credits feature a montage of original paintings that depict various scenes of cowboy life in the Old West. The artist was Olaf Wieghorst, who appears in the film as the Gunsmith, Swede Larsen.
The bartender that Robert Mitchum's character shoots in the saloon is played by his brother, actor/writer John Mitchum.
The movie is more or less a remake of Rio Bravo (1959), although Howard Hawks always denied this.
The bathtub scene was largely Robert Mitchum's invention. Members of the crew were laughing while it was being filmed at the idea of Mitchum being embarrassed in front of a woman.
The poem "El Dorado" has four verses. James Caan's character recites three, omitting the second, which laments the aging knight's failure to locate El Dorado. He recites the first verse and part of the fourth riding with John Wayne after they meet for the first time, the third when Wayne is about to ride out for the final gunfight, and the complete fourth when he himself takes up the second wagon's reins.
Arch-conservative John Wayne did not get along with actor Edward Asner, whose politics were quite liberal, during filming, and constantly referred to Asner as "that New York actor". Asner later said he did not know if the phrase was intended to be an anti-semitic insult.
A belt buckle that John Wayne sports in many scenes features the Red River D brand, an homage to his first collaboration with Howard Hawks, Red River (1948).
The poem recited by Mississippi is an actual poem called "El Dorado" by Edgar Allan Poe.
John Wayne starred in Rio Bravo (1959), and after reading the script for El Dorado (1966) he asked to play J.P. Hara, but the part went to Robert Mitchum.
Robert Mitchum revealed in an interview that when Howard Hawks asked him to be in the film, Mitchum asked what was the story of the film. Hawks reportedly replied that the story didn't matter because the film had some "great characters".
James Caan has admitted he wore three-inch lifts in the movie.
The rifle that Bull uses is an 1855 Colt Revolving rifle.
Though John Wayne was playing an older character he declined to wear a gray toupee in the film. He would not be seen with gray hair until True Grit (1969).
According to writer Leigh Brackett, the scene where James Caan throws himself in front of the horses was used in Rio Bravo (1959) with Ricky Nelson, but it was cut from the final release.
According to James Caan, during a break he and John Wayne got into an altercation over a game of chess. Caan accused Wayne of cheating. Robert Mitchum intervened and cooled things down.
Howard Hawks had a joke about the 58-year-old John Wayne's age by showing him getting to know a girl (played by Charlene Holt), as opposed to romancing the girl played by Angie Dickinson in Rio Bravo (1959).
The scenes of the town during daytime were filmed on location, but all the nighttime scenes were filmed in the studio.
John Wayne cocks a Winchester lever-action rifle with one hand by twirling it around its finger hole. The rifle used in that shot has an enormously large finger hole to make the trick easier.
John Wayne was disappointed that the movie was released at the same time as his next movie, The War Wagon (1967). However, despite this film receiving generally poor reviews and being seen as old-fashioned and out of tune with the times, both movies proved to be hugely successful at the box office.
Most of the scenes showing John Wayne running were performed by a double.
Harry Brown wanted his novel, "The Stars in their Courses", removed from the opening credits because the film bore little resemblance to his book.
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James Caan's impersonation of a Chinese man is often cut from TV broadcasts because it is considered racist.
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Shooting started in late 1965. The movie was trade screened to exhibitors on 15 November 1966 but not released until June 1967.
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John Wayne and actor Arthur Hunnicutt both played Davy Crockett in films pertaining to the Alamo. Wayne in his directed version of The Alamo, Hunnicutt in The Last Command.
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Robert Mitchum initially played the alcoholic sheriff as a weak and pathetic character, but Howard Hawks decided this was too similar to Dean Martin's portrayal of the drunken deputy in Rio Bravo (1959). Thereafter it was decided that Mitchum would play J.P. Harrah mostly for laughs.
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Shooting took 84 days. By the time the film was finished in late January 1966 it was 24 days over schedule.
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The trivia item below may give away important plot points.

The ingredients that Mississippi recites for Johnny Diamond's recipe to sober up J. P. Hara are: cayenne pepper, hot mustard powder, ipecac, asafoetida, and croton oil. Ipecac is a strong emetic, asafoetida is a spice known for its strong sulfurous odor, and croton oil is a potent purgative. Anyone who administered this combination in real life would likely be shot a day or two later when the patient could finally leave the outhouse, assuming the unfortunate victim had not died of dehydration from the violent fluid diarrhea croton oil causes. The recipe also called for gunpowder, which causes nausea

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